Bev Harris | Black Box Voting.org | Friday January 18, 2008
No worries, say New Hampshire officials when cuts up to eight inches long are spotted in newly delivered ballot boxes. “The only seal that counts is the one on top.”Except the seal on top can be peeled off without leaving a trace, then reaffixed.
Black Box Voting has been doing a chain of custody exam for the New Hampshire Primary’s recount. On Wednesday night, Election Defense Alliance’s Sally Castleman mentioned a troubling observation: After following the ballots back to the ballot vault following Wednesday’s recount, she had the opportunity to enter the ballot vault, and noticed what looked like cuts, or slits, in the side of many ballot boxes. New Hampshire officials assured us that these cuts, which slice through the tape, seals and box itself do not permit access to the uncounted ballots, pointing to a label on the boxtop which they call a seal.
But the “seal” can be removed, like a Post-it, and reaffixed. So it’s not a seal all!
We wanted to know if the ballot boxes were slit while in the vault, in the transport van, or came from the towns with slits in them.
confirmed this morning that many if not most of the boxes scheduled to be counted today had slits in them. I went out when a vanload of ballots arrived, and saw that they were slit at the time they arrived by van. Susan Pynchon and I drove to two nearby towns and watched as they handed over their ballot boxes to “Butch and Hoppy”, the two men who drive around in the state in a van picking the ballots up. We observed as they loaded boxes of ballots into the van with no slits at all in them. We videotaped each of these up close. They arrived at the destination without slits. The label on the top was affixed, but in some cases was crumpled, or also damaged.Of cource, the label affixed to the top can be removed and reattached without telltale signs.
No vault tonight
A significant departure from the normal chain of custody path occurred tonight. They decided not to use the vault to store the ballots.